#MDW tends to be a flurry of hot dogs, red white or blue crop tops, and filtered bbq shots on Instagram. But what if we take the hashtag out of the holiday for a minute and remember what it is all about…
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and it memorializes those who died in combat while serving their nation. Whether you agree with our country’s values or not, you must admit that it is a country founded on strong values. Although we may not always fight for freedom in a way everyone agrees to, Americans still admirably fight for their freedom and sometimes that is the most we can do. Our grandfathers, our brothers, our mothers, and our friends have put themselves in the face of danger because they felt that it would protect their loved ones back home. We don’t fight to kill, we fight to live. This past weekend, I admit that I did eat a few hot dogs but I also thought about how lucky I was to be able to live in a country that enables my freedom… my freedom to not just eat hot dogs, but to learn, to live, to love, to explore, to work, and to pursue more. Whether I was given these rights because of our soldiers or not I cannot actually say, but I still respect every man and woman who has done their best to bravely step out into the world in hopes of helping their people, and proudly call themselves an American through it all.
So where did I eat my hot dogs and reminisce about American patriotism? In the middle of the desert.
We spent three days in Moab, Utah where we could disconnect from electronics and work and stress and concerns. Where we could just enjoy our time together and appreciate how lucky we are to be where we are, appreciate everyone – not just soldiers, but friends, family, teachers, and coworkers – who have helped us maintain our freedoms and allow us to pursue our dreams. We’re all living in our own small worlds, but its an incredible feeling when your world can collide with others who share your values or expand your mind.
We got lost for a bit so that we could find ourselves within a large country filled with big values and strong opinions. So, thank you to all my fellow Americans who have taught me something along the way and helped me shape my perspective into something I can value as much as my Founding Fathers valued “justice and common defense.”